Cristian ‘Chicote’ Calderón has made a move to Guadalajara’s arch-nemesis Club América. The free transfer was not a surprise to anyone considering there have been talks of him leaving after he and ex-teammate Alexis Vega made the headlines for all the wrong reasons a few months ago. The surprise was that he went over to rival América, as most assumed Necaxa to be his next stop. Now the biggest question is whether this is the right move for Calderón.
¡Bienvenido al campeón, Cristian! pic.twitter.com/4giIxxHsOy— Club América (@ClubAmerica) January 3, 2024
‘Chicote’ started off his career in Guadalajara, but not with Chivas. Atlas is where he made his league debut during the Clausura 2016. After a few years, he then made the jump to play for Necaxa during the Clausura 2019. This was when his career took off and he became a central figure for the club. His performance even got him a look from the Mexican National Team when Gerardo Martino called him up for a pair of friendlies in October 2019. Two months after his debut for the NT, ‘Chicote’ made his move back to Guadalajara, but with Chivas this time for the Clausura 2020. At first, Calderón was the player everyone saw at Necaxa, but over time his level dipped. He then made the news for indiscipline and the club elected not to re-sign him. Everyone believed he would head back to Necaxa, but instead chose Mexico City with the current champions.
The biggest question everyone now has is why a player like Calderón was brought to play for the defending champs if he isn’t the same player he was back during his Necaxa days. This is a very valid question that has left many Azulcrema fans scratching their heads. He’ll have lots of competition considering how stacked the roster is with other high level players. He’ll be competing with Luis Fuentes, Salvador ‘Chava’ Reyes, Mauricio Reyes, and Ralph Orquin. It’s the first two players listed that he has to fight with considering they’d rotate games throughout the season. The other two are youngsters who have seen minutes with the first team throughout the season and are hungry to show the club why they should be starting too.
Not only does Calderón have to prove his level of play is worthy of a starting role, but also that he won’t have any disciplinary issues like he did at Chivas. Back in October 2023, Calderón, Alexis Vega, and youngster Raul Martínez were separated from the team after breaking team rules. It has never been confirmed, but rumors state it was because the three invited women to the team hotel after their 1-1 result with Toluca. That wasn’t the first time he’d been disciplined, seeing as he also broke team rules back in 2020. Eventually Calderon made his way back onto the roster, but nothing was going to save him with his contract expiring in December 2023.
Considering his two instances with disciplinary issues, it seemed as though his options were going to be bleak. Maybe a team consistently at the bottom of the table would offer him a contract, but no one expected the reining champions to be the ones to do it. Whether it was a decision made by André Jardine himself or the front office, signing a player who hasn’t played at a high level in a while and who’s had multiple disciplinary issues is a big gamble to take. The positive for Calderón is that at América he has the chance to turn around his career while he’s still young. He’ll be expected to show he can be a disciplined player not only on the field but off of it as well. Back at Chivas, it was obvious discipline was a big issue and a team cannot succeed with those types of issues. Now ‘Chicote’ has the opportunity to show he can turn it all around and be the player he once was because Club América, or any other club, might not take another chance on him.